Shanel Lindsay

The Ardent founder on becoming a weed inventor, teenage motherhood, and fighting back against wrongful arrest.


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Believing in the power of myself was encouraged in my household from the beginning. That I was good, that I was smart, and that I was capable of excelling was always instilled in me. My parents were both very hard workers. My mom didn’t go to college, but she was a top real estate agent back in Dorchester. I remember going to her office and watching her be very, very confident in what she was doing, and very resourceful. My dad went to night school when I was younger. 

It was really important to my mom that I go to college—and to an Ivy League school. I trusted that she saw the challenges and was trying to make a good path for me. I ended up going to Penn, where I studied anthropology, and then to law school from there. I’m very grateful that I did my freshman year before I had my son because I was just like, Oh, there’s no going back. I had already seen the promised land.

Of course, there were challenges and struggles there. I have a very strong personality, which I learned from my mom. She wanted me to study medicine, but I told her, “No, I don’t think I’m going to become a doctor, that’s not right for me.” Law, however, was something that I could see myself doing. 

My parents had me when they were in their early 20s. I had my son when I was 19. When you have younger parents, you’re ingrained into adult life. Not in a bad way; I think that’s how I became assertive and understanding. I was a little adult.


I’ve always found that cannabis helped me stay on that path of positivity, creativity, and order.